Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Who Turned Down the Heat?

As goes California, so goes the rest of the nation.
"Next year in California, state regulators are likely to have the emergency power to control individual thermostats, sending temperatures up or down through a radio-controlled device that will be required in new or substantially modified houses and buildings to manage electricity shortages."
That's according to the New York Times. This latest intrusion into our personal consumption preferences is reminiscent of a masterpiece that I have just re-read. If California regulators are so wise and efficient, why stop there? It could also deploy its technology to regulate the amount of cold water in my shower or the temperature in my oven. It could even turn off my alarm clock in the night to save power during a brownout!

The California Energy Commission's argues that the new technology allows it to adjust house temperatures in response to price changes.

People respond to incentives on their own without government requirements. Heating costs are no different than those associated with gasoline prices. People consume less when prices are high and they measure those costs and the benefits (in this case, a warmer house) because that's their preference, not the state of California's.

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